The true number of children with type 2 diabetes may be far larger than doctors realise, warn experts in this week's BMJ.
Cases of children with type 2 diabetes have been linked to the rising prevalence of childhood obesity. A recent BMJ study found that this is partly linked to the consumption of fizzy drinks.
A recent survey in England found 18% of schoolchildren to be overweight and a further 6% to be obese. On this basis, some 1,400 children in the United Kingdom would be currently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and over 20,000 children with impaired glucose tolerance.
"That we are not recording these high numbers indicates that the problem may be hidden," say the authors.
"Children may not be aware of relevant symptoms or not realise that they should report them. We must be sure that, when children do express discomfort in some form, we listen to them. There are high costs associated with missing a case of diabetes through lack of attention, ignorance, or unconscious discrimination against overweight children," they conclude.
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